BHUBANESWAR: After 62 days of shutdown, the Odisha Government finally opened up liquor sale in the State but through home delivery services only and with a steep price hike. From Sunday, all ON and OFF shop licensees, in areas other than containment zones and shopping malls, are allowed to sell alcohol through home delivery system by engaging their own personnel or through food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato, etc.
While the announcement may have brought cheers to the tipplers, they will have to pay more than one and half price of the bottle as the State Government has imposed a ‘Special Covid fee’ on all types of liquor. The fee is 50 per cent of the MRP. One person can order a maximum of five litre beer and 2.5 litre IMFL per order. A notification issued by the Excise department said that the additional revenue generated will go towards meeting the expenses incurred by the Government in provisioning Covid-19 healthcare services and other related activities.
The State has already suffered a loss of around `750 crore because of the ban on liquor sale due to the lockdown. The licensees cannot sell liquor on their premises. While switching to home delivery, the shops will have to prominently display their phone/mobile/whatsapp number/email id/UPI details for receiving orders and facilitating digital payments. The Odisha State Beverages Corporation (OSBC) website (osbc.co.in) will also display the district wise list of ON/OFF shops licensees along with their details.
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The product-wise latest MRP will also be displayed on the website. The Excise Commissioner has been authorised to decide on delivery charges from time to time. The ceiling notified by him at present is `100 for orders up to `1000 and thereafter `25 for every additional `500 order value. In no case, the delivery charge will exceed `300. The aggregators can fix their own rates subject to above ceiling.
The notification said, the normal timing for home delivery will be between 7am and 6pm. Orders are expected to be delivered within six hours. The retailers and other agencies involved in home delivery have to abide by the legal provisions of maximum quantity of liquor which can be transported in each delivery.
Subsequent to issue of notification by Excise department, two food aggregators Zomato and Swiggy applied for permission. Zomato has been permitted to operate in municipal limits of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur and Puri. Swiggy will cater to municipal areas Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur and Rourkela.